UK named as among worst for anti-gypsy evictions

By Grattan Puxon

Scores of protesting Gypsy mothers and their children have made a last-ditch effort to save their homes and their community from destruction by bulldozing.

More than a hundred families, housed on their own land in chalets, mobile-homes and caravans face a huge four million euro eviction operation at Crays Hill and Wickford, following seven years of legal battles. They delivered a Legal Memorandum to Basildon District Council setting out in terms of international law their rights to be re-settled as minority ethnic-community at another location.

"The Government has told Basildon it must provide land for us," said Mary-Ann McCarthy, who presented the memorandum. "But we fear they will evict us by forced before this happens."

The memorandum was dawn by the Centre on Housing and Evictions, a leading Geneva-based NGO, with the help of Essex University Faculty of Law Human Right Centre. It warns the council that it could be held to be in breach of both international and domestic law if it decides to evict by force.

It argues that should families be driven out with nowhere legally to live, they will in effect by compelled to break the law and face worse breaches of their basic human rights, including race hatred and vigilante attacks, such as have occurred in several locations.

On the same day as Dale Farm protest, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre issued an open letter to the new president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek naming the UK, along with Slovakia and Hungary as among the worst offenders when it comes to anti-Roma racism.
Dr Shimon Samuels, head of the Centre, warns that Basildon council is planning to expell the largest community of British Gypsies.

17 August 2009

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